Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Issues Part IV

Government Intervention

It can be assumed that Government intervention applies to the individual States or to Foreign Countries, both would be right. The Federal Government of the United States of America has elected itself to be the Big Brother, the King, the Judge and the Jury of all States and Countries big or small.

The Federal Governments mandates on the individual States is a direct and blatant violation of the 10th Amendment. Our States are supposed to be sovereign Countries, Nations unto themselves. The States should be making decisions that affect only themselves, not kowtowing to the Federal Government and begging for every dime they can suck out of the Fed and out of the other States. With the loss of the sovereignty of our States came the gain of a new breed of vulture. This new breed is the ones that believe they have the right to push their personal beliefs on the rest of the Nation. The Bill of Rights has been thrown out of the window in some cases and in others it has been incorporated into the States individual rights; this is commonly called the Incorporation Doctrine. The Bill of Rights are Amendments that clarify what power the Federal Government has over the States, they are not blanket rights that are to be applied to every State.

If you will notice the Federal Government goes after any State that tries to reassert their sovereignty. There is a small movement that believes States should secede. If a State was to secede they could still be part of the Nation, only they would be a sovereign Nation that maintained trade relations with the United States through treaties. This would be a good thing for the Federal Government in the sense that they would not have to support that State, they would not have to send money for mandated programs, and they would not have to provide defense for that State. This would never be allowed because it would mean the Federal Government would lose the revenue from that State and they would lose the control over that State. Again, it’s about money and control. The Federal Government is not acting for the common good or even common sense.

The Intervention of the United States in foreign countries does not necessarily violate the Constitution, but, at the same time it is not authorized by it either. In his farewell address George Washington advocated that we should not become entangled in the political aspirations and objectives of other nations. This has been twisted throughout the past two centuries to mean President Washington was advocating isolationalism. On the contrary President Washington was advocating anti-interventionism. Every generation since the birth of this great Nation has realized that to grow we would need trade with other Nations. This belief in trade is evident in the Navy being the only branch of the military authorized by the Constitution for continuous operation; a Navy was essential to protecting trade routes then and still is today.

The involvement in the politics of other Nations besides costing billions of our tax payer dollars, it has also cost us the lives of thousands of our young men and women. Our involvement in the past has also been the cause of many of the problems we are seeing today. In the 1980’s we were involved in a “Cold War” with the Soviets. When the Soviet Army invaded Afghanistan, a country which used to be part of Russia, the United States covertly funded arming and training the Afghanistan rebels. As a result of this we, the United States CIA, trained Osama Bin Laden. As we all know this came back to bite us, hard. Same has been true with Muammar Gaddafi; we have gone full circle with him. At one point we were bombing his palace, then we supported him, even funded him and now we are supporting the rebels against him. The Libyan rebels are another issue altogether. While fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan Libya was one of the biggest suppliers of fighters for the Taliban, now we are supporting and even funding them.

Our position with Israel is one in which there is just no good side to be on. If you want to stand with them as an ally then we are interfering again. If you take the stand of anti-intervention then you are throwing the one Country in the Middle East that shares our core religious and social values. In truth we should support them as far as standing up for them, vocally. They have the right to protect themselves as they see fit without asking us for permission or our blessing, it’s none of our business. At the same time I do lean towards not being against Gods chosen People, guess that’s my Judeo-Christian beliefs coming out.

We not only can not afford to continue pouring money and lives into foreign countries, it is just the wrong thing to do politically and morally. The Middle East has always had and always will have a civil war of some kind being fought. Nothing we do now or in the future will change that, all our interference will do is to make us a bigger enemy then we already are.

Taking a stance of anti-intervention does not mean that we do not need a military. We will always need some form of Military as I discussed in the section about the Military. It also means that we will protect our Nation with all the vigor we have always shown. The attack on Pearl Harbor was a direct result of embargos the US placed on Japan for invading Indonesia. The only good thing I can say about the attack on Pearl Harbor is that America responded with determination and resolve. We were attacked by a foreign Nation so we declared War. We fought a war to win, not to act as a police force. The attack on the World Trade Centers was again the result, indirectly, of the US’s interference. We helped to fund and train the Afghan rebels and then we left them hanging. We unfortunately created Osama Bin Laden. With the Muslim beliefs they would have more then likely attacked us, we just added fuel to their fire. In the case of the World Trade Center that was an organization, not a Nation.

We went into Afghanistan, a sovereign Nation, without any declaration of war and turned the Nation upside down; the same is true with Iraq. Originally we went into Afghanistan and into Iraq with determination, remember Shock and Awe? Once the “Shock” was over our Politicians ham stringed our Military. If we are going to send our young men and women into harms way we need to give them our full support and let them do what they are trained for. If we did there would probably be fewer instances of, for lack of a better term, bad behavior on the part of our Military.

We had no fight with Afghanistan other then the fact that that is where Osama Bin Laden called home. Our invasion in Iraq was based on the blustering of a Dictator that just enjoyed being the center of attention. Are there not bad people in the United States? Should other countries attack us because of a crime perpetrated by a citizen of the United States in another country? Should Gaddafi attack us because of the actions of our President against his country?


Currently we are involved in 3 conflicts overseas while our borders are leaking illegal immigrants like a sieve. We have a National debt of over 14 trillion dollars and our President submits a budget with a deficit of nearly 1.6 trillion dollars. Our Congress is quibbling over whether or not to raise the debt ceiling without being able to submit a counter budget that is any better then what the President submitted. Our currency is being devalued by the Federal Reserve which is causing our credit rating to drop on the international market. The threat of reduction in our credit rating adversely affects the one area we should have a foreign policy, trade. Activists are running rampant on Capitol Hill pushing their agendas on the rest of the Nation. Our State Governments are running scared instead of standing up to the Federal Government. To top off every thing else, while polls continue to show that approximately 75% of the Nation believes we are a Christian Nation with Judeo-Christian values, God is being banished to lands unknown, taking the morals of past generations with him.

It’s hard for me to believe that Americans are ready to turn over their freedom so easily. The direction of this Nation rivals that of the Nation in the George Orwell novel 1984. Are we ready to roll over and let the Government control every aspect of our lives? We are already allowing our President to act like a King? This President in particular has all but rendered Congress irrelevant. Congress is supposed to be the branch that is the voice of the People and the Sovereign States that keeps the President in line. The President is supposed to the one that ensures Congress is writing bills that are in the best interest of the Nation as a whole and ensure they are Constitutional. The Supreme Court is supposed to verify the Constitutionality of all laws. None of this is happening. We are watching a Monarchy in its infancy. This is not the first administration to act this way, just the most blatant to date. The only way to save this Nation is for the People to stand up and take it back. Not by force, but by waking up, speaking out, voting their conscience and holding their elected representatives to task.

Steve Avery

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Issues Part III


This argument has gone back and forth for years but I’m going to touch on it again. According to thefreedictionary.com the definition of immigration is to enter and settle in a country or region to which one is not native. The definition of naturalization by thefreedictionary.com is to grant full citizenship to one of foreign birth. Article I Section 8 of the Constitution states that Congress has the power “to establish a uniform rule of naturalization”. There are no words about immigration. Article IV Section 4 of the Constitution on the other hand states “the United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against invasion”. If you take the Constitution at its word, without trying to interpret or twist the words around, there is no where that states that a State can not create its own laws of immigration. On the other hand a State can not make laws concerning the naturalization of an immigrant into the United States.

The Federal Government was in violation of the Constitution when they went after the State of Arizona for SB 1070, not the other way around. If Arizona had passed a bill concerning the process to become a citizen of the United States then they would have been in violation of the Constitution. In fact, in the case of Arizona, Texas and California the Federal Government is in violation of Article IV Section 4 by not preventing the wholesale illegal border crossings. This is probably also true for all coastal States and all the Northern Border States.

Immigration is not a problem in the United States, illegal immigration is. Whether we are spending tax dollars on supporting and taking care of illegal immigrants or not, they have violated the law; the United States is supposed to be a Nation of Laws. We welcome immigrants, as long as they enter legally. There are reasons for not having open borders. Many illegal immigrants are coming into America for criminal reasons, not all, but enough. At one time during the 1700’s Britain sent convicts to the Colonies to help ease their financial responsibility and put the burden on the Colonies. Is that not what is happening with our Southern border? Our Northern border is not a whole lot better, only the problem with that border is the influxes of Nationalities that do not have the best intentions for America. The point has been argued, and rightfully so, that protecting our borders is both a matter of national security and economic common sense.

The issue of protecting the borders is not nearly as difficult as our politicians want to make it. Because of our increased involvement in overseas affairs we have taxed our military to the point that we are sending our National Guard overseas to reinforce the regular military. If we were not so heavily involved the National Guard in the Border States could be used to reinforce our Customs and Border Patrol Officers, in fact they could be used to replace them. There is also an argument that could be made to have our Military protecting our borders. Our laws only state that the Military can not be used to enforce laws against United States citizens, illegal immigrants are not United States citizens.

Government Programs

Whenever the issue of the budget, deficit and debt come up the Politicians start bringing up the programs they are going to have to shut down. Oh course the first ones that are always brought up are the ones that have to do with fire protection, police protection, teachers, National Parks and Monuments and our seniors. Whenever someone does suggest cutbacks to things like say, earmarks, the response is always that it’s just a drop in the bucket, nothing worth fighting over so they just leave them in the budget. Truth is that enough drops in the bucket will eventually fill the bucket. Truth is that Politicians do not care about reducing the deficit spending or the debt; they care about saying all the right things to get re-elected. They will keep the programs going that produce the biggest kickbacks from lobbyist, Unions and Corporate hacks. Voters, regular citizens, do not have the money to entice party politicians.

Politicians do not care about whether a program is actually accomplishing what it was established to accomplish. Just look at welfare, it was established to help people get back on their feet during the depression; well the depression is over and instead of getting back on their feet we have created whole generations of welfare families. The Department of Education was created to improve the quality of the Nations Schools and to improve the education of our children. Once again, neither objective was accomplished yet we continue to pour money into the Department of Education. The Department of Energy was created to reduce or eliminate our dependence on foreign oil, need I say more?

Every Government program should have a sunset clause built into them when they are first created. This clause should be such that after a reasonable amount of time the effectiveness of the program will be evaluated by a non-partisan panel that will determine whether the program should be continued or not. Of course this is only if the Government is allowed to establish a program. Any program recommended by the Congress should be evaluated against the Constitution before they even start writing the bills for it. Off the top of my head I can not think of any Government program that would pass the test of being authorized by the Constitution. Any program or Department currently being run by the Federal Government should be transferred to the States, not mandated to them, transferred to them. If a State wants to run a program they will, if not then they won’t.

The Government is now trying to get not only into our Supermarkets, but also in our backyards and our kitchens. Through the FDA the Federal Government is trying to control everything that you are allowed to eat or drink. Humans have been surviving for a very long time eating whatever did not eat them first. It’s kind of interesting that you never hear of people getting sick from items bought at their local Farmers Markets. Once again, it’s just another issue of control, not protection.

Taxes and Job Creation

These two issues are tied together. Almost every candidate that runs for office in the Federal Government will have job creation as one plank of their platform. The Federal Government does not create jobs, the Federal Government can only put into place programs that will entice the creation of jobs. In reality we are at a point where the only thing that will entice the creation of jobs will be the repeal of many Government programs such as the Healthcare Act. If the Government was truly interested in job creation they would completely repeal the current tax code and make a simplified tax code that could be understood. Liberals like to condemn those that have been successful in the business world for being the filthy rich. It’s the filthy rich that have the capital to create jobs, that’s what they do, that’s what they are good at, and that’s why they are rich. The only jobs the Government has created have been in the public sector, these are jobs that taxes pay for which in turn means taxes need to go up to pay for them. I heard a report the other day that for every public job created by the Government two private sector jobs go away. This is due to the increase in regulations and taxes required to either support or to justify that new public sector job.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Issues Part II

Separation of Church and State

This seems to be one of the most controversial subjects a politician can face, right along with abortion. Our Constitution specifically states that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. This means that the Federal Government stays out of it. Notice I said Federal. The State Governments can do as they please, as long as it’s within the confines of their own Constitutions. State Governments can even name a religion to be the State religion if their individual State Constitutions allow it. What this also means is that all of these special interest groups that want to bring suit to school boards for allowing prayer in school or a benediction during a graduation, can not use the Constitution as their argument. In fact when the proponents of this so-called separation file their law suits they are pushing their religious, or non-religious, beliefs on the rest of us, exactly what they are trying to use as their number one argument.

I have heard a recent argument that questions whether this protects Shria Law cases since they are tied to religious beliefs. Once again Congress can make no law in either direction; therefore it again falls to the States and their laws. Since most of the Shria Law cases involve honor killings this falls more into the criminal laws of a state and of our Nation. The observance and practice of the Muslim religion should be protected in this country as long as it does not violate natural law, meaning it does not cause physical harm to others.

As for history and the basis for our countries laws and Constitution, well, although there are questions about the faith of some of our founders, they all agreed on the strong Christian foundation for building our country, its Constitution, and its laws. This was in no way intended to discourage other religions, in fact our founders wanted to ensure there would be no suppression of any religious beliefs, unlike England at that time.

Abortion and Gay Marriage

I have yet to figure out why the Federal Government is involved in either abortion of gay marriage. I’ll take the easier one first, gay marriage.

There is nothing in the Constitution that talks about marriage, gay or otherwise. Marriage should simply be between the people involved and their church. Marriage is a religious matter, wait, isn’t there something in the Bill of Rights about Congress making no law etc… where religion is concerned? Once again if a State feels that gay marriage is something that will harm their State then they can make laws in accordance with their Constitutions that either prohibit or allow gay marriage. That’s the way it should work, in fact California passed a Constitutional Amendment that stated marriage was between a man and a woman and a Supreme Court Judge put a ban on that Amendment. The Supreme Court stated that the Amendment was a violation of the Constitution when I would argue that the Judge was violating one if not two Amendments of the United States Constitution by stopping the Amendment.

Some would read this and think that I am trying to defend gay marriage, nope, not at all. I’m trying to defend the Constitution and States rights. I will admit that I have no issue with the union of two people regardless of same or different sex as long as they are consenting adults, just do not push your views on me, just like religion. I will even argue that the reason the Government is involved in the issue of marriage at all is for money and control. The Government developed the marriage license to prevent the marriage between blacks and whites. The practice continued so the Government could control who they thought should or should not be allowed to marry and thus have children. Does this sound like control to you? Does this sound similar to another Government in the early 1900’s? I would also argue that lobbyist for the insurance profession has had a lot to do with defining marriage and making it a Government issue. Try listing someone of the same sex that is not a blood relative as a beneficiary on an insurance policy. Marriage is not a protection for spouses that become dependent or on children that come from the union, ever heard of palimony and child support for unwed mothers? So why is the Government involved in the issue of marriage?

Abortion is another one that is a tough and touchy subject for anyone, politician or not. The long standing argument for the pro-abortion side has been the mothers’ rights. On the pro-life side the argument has been that life begins at conception. I’m still unsure of exactly where I fall on when life begins but I am pro-life, I disclose this so everyone knows where my arguments come from. Instead of arguing about when life begins why aren’t we talking about what has happened to the morals of our young men and women?

Much to the chagrin of many, sex was for the procreation of life, not for entertainment. I’m not preaching against sex, I’m preaching against sex without accepting the consequences. Abortion is all too often being used to take care of unwanted pregnancies brought about by out of wedlock sex. Liberal thinkers argue that instead of our schools teaching abstinence they are teaching our children how to use condoms and teaching them that there is no problem having underage and out of wedlock sexual relationships. Liberal thinkers often argue that it is not even the parents right to know about the pregnancies or the abortions that may come about. Isn’t it about time that we teach responsibility and consequences instead of teaching children how to be irresponsible and how easy it is take care of the problem. Unfortunately even our President has stated that he would not want his daughters saddled with an unwanted pregnancy.

I will admit that I am a fence sitter when it comes to the question of abortion in cases or rape, incest or for the life of the mother. I tend to believe that these areas fall into the gray area that only Doctors and the patient should decide on. Everyday people are making decisions about taking life for medical reasons. We decided on who will or will not receive an organ transplant and we decide whether or not to discontinue life support for patients that have little to no chances of recovery. One amusing thing to me is that so many that believe in pro-life believe in the death penalty while so many on the pro-choice side are against the death penalty. So, it’s one way at the beginning of a life and the other at the end, doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. Yes, I believe in the death penalty for most cases.

Once again the question comes back to whether the Government should have any say in abortion. There is nothing in the Constitution that gives the Government the power to rule on abortion. Abortion is an issue of natural law. If you believe the science that states that life begins at conception, well then the law says murder is illegal.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Issues Part I

The GOP campaigning and debates are already starting for the 2012 Presidential Race. I thought this would be a good time to go over some of the issues that we will be hearing a lot about. All indications currently indicate that the Democratic Party wishes for President Obama to run for a second term, so all the campaigning we will be hearing for now will be from the GOP. At my last count there were either 6 or 7 candidates that have officially announced they will be running under the GOP ticket with 3 or 4 others in the wings. Between now and early next year all of them will be campaigning hard just to get the GOP nomination. Even within a single party there are major differences in the issues that our Nation is facing. Here are some of the issues I believe you will be hearing a lot about and my opinion on them. I know my opinion will not match many of your opinions or the opinions of the candidates, even the one that I would like to see elected. That’s what’s great about this; it’s an opinion only, so are theirs. If I can get each and everyone of you thinking about what your opinion is then I’ve accomplished part of what I wanted to accomplish. The next thing is to get everyone looking at the potential candidates and actually voting for the one that fits your qualifications, not the one that the “party” says is electable. If enough people actually vote for who they want, even if it’s a write in, then just maybe that candidate could be elected.

The Military

There seems to be the attitude today that we have to have our military in all corners of the globe in order to ensure our safety. One list I was able to find listed 87 permanent military bases overseas, 9 in South Korea, 9 in Japan, 9 in Italy, 27 in Germany and the rest spread out throughout Europe, the Middle East and other countries. I’m sure there are more bases throughout the world that are just not considered to be permanent. For example Japan is about the size of the State of California. California, one of America’s largest states, only has 7 military bases. The argument is that we need these bases in order to protect our National security. The truth is that we have the overseas bases for Nation building. With our current technology we do not need to have bases overseas to protect the United States.

When President Obama decided to interfere in Libya the bombers that dropped the bombs came from Tinker field in Oklahoma, not from one of the Air Bases in Germany, Spain, Bahrain, Italy or Turkey. When Osama Bin Laden was located Seal Team Six was deployed, they are stationed in Virginia Beach, VA, that’s located on the east coast of the United States, not overseas. With this information the question should really be why all these bases are overseas when we are not going to utilize them in times like I stated above. The plain answer is that we are in all these countries to nation build.

America did not start establishing bases outside of our borders until sometime around World War I when the Philippines were an American Territory. At that time the reasoning was to protect our homeland and territories. That I agree with. When Germany surrendered we established numerous bases throughout Germany, we occupied Germany. The German people have rebuilt their Nation and their Government, why are we still there? The same holds true with Japan.

With the economic environment in the USA does it make sense to continue to send money and personnel overseas to man these bases? Would it not make more sense to bring our troops home, back onto American soil to protect our borders and to keep our dollars at home? Another factor that needs to be considered is that with today’s technology do we really need to be in everyone else’s backyards? We can have missile defenses systems to protect us from incoming air attacks. We also have the Navy, the only constitutionally authorized continuous military service, on patrol for defense and immediate response to threats against the United States. To be clear on that, the President has the authority by the War Powers Resolution of 1973 to commit troops to defend against immediate threats to the United States, he does not have the power to commit our military to long term military involvement. Only Congress can commit our military to long term involvement with a declaration of war. In the event we need to act immediately to protect the United States and her citizens we can deploy the Marines, who are a part of the Navy.

There has not been one conflict that was so immediate that the President did not have the time to get the approval of Congress, it’s only been in the last 60 years or so that Congress would give their approval in order to provide funding but would not actually declare war, e.g.… Korea and Vietnam. What could we do with the funds that we are spending to keep the bases abroad? What National Defense system could we fund if we were not sending foreign aide to all corners of the globe? I’m not even going to go into the constitutionality of funding the Army and the Air Force or what we could do if we honored the 10th Amendment and States provided the militias as needed for National defense.

The Economy

The American Government is over 14 Trillion Dollars in debt and is once again approaching their debt ceiling. Congress has until August 2nd to either vote to raise the debt ceiling or not. If Congress votes to not raise the debt ceiling it could mean that America will go into default, we will not be able to borrow enough money to pay what we owe. If we do raise the debt ceiling then Congress will not have learned their lesson. The out of control spending that has gotten us where we are now will continue. Raising the debt ceiling or not raising will not make any difference in where the United States is headed, not unless we can get the out of control spending under control. To get the spending under control there needs to be a balanced budget, meaning that there are no more deficits and no increasing of the debt ceiling.

When the politicians try to get the American People on there side they bring up the fact that we are putting our children and grandchildren in debt, we are making them slaves to the nations debt before they are even born. What no one wants to talk about is that this was put in place back in the 1935 when the Social Security Act was signed into law. In fact the seed for this was planted before this with the passing of the Mothers Pension Programs by the Theodore Roosevelt Administration in 1911. Granted this program was run by the State Governments but it was born out of the Federal Government and later taken over by the Federal Government, this was the seed of all the entitlement programs we now have.

As long as the Federal Government continues to run entitlement programs, engages in Nation building and provides subsidies there will never be a balanced budget. Our debt will continue to grow and our children, grandchildren and so on will be slaves to this debt

Steve Avery

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Different Time

My wife and I being truck drivers that are ready to come off the road were talking the other day at breakfast about what we could do to simplify our life. The talk turned to getting clothes line poles made, not only because it would save some money but also because my wife likes the way sheets and clothes smell when they have been dried on the line. While talking about it we realized that when we bought our house in Virginia in the early 90’s we walked into a local home improvement store and bought clothes line poles, now we were having to think about who could make them. We have looked and can not find them in the home improvement stores, at least not in our area, and we live in a rural area. I questioned why we couldn’t find ready made poles anymore and my wife brought up the point that nowadays usually both members of the family work during the day and clothes don’t dry too good on the line at night. Besides realizing that I was questioning not being able to find ready made poles instead of making them myself, it made me realize how much our way of life has changed in this country.

When you start talking to your parents or grandparents about how things were when they were young they are quick to point out that life was not easy. If you were a farmer you were working 7 days a week, if you worked for someone else there were long hours and 6 day work weeks. The discussion normally gets around to the fact that they didn’t have what we have now, and that is true. But what do we have that makes it so much greater? What have we lost that they had? As far as history goes it’s not been that long ago where only one member of the household had to work to make ends meet. Then again the definition of making ends meet has changed, so has the definition of being fiscally conservative.

In 1950 Diners Club and America Express launched their credit card campaign on America. It started with 200 Diners Club cards being issued in 1951 that could only be used in certain restaurants; that started the revolution of plastic money. Credit has been around for centuries in one form or another, but plastic money has only been around for a little over a half a century. Credit used to be hard to obtain, you had to prove you were deserving of credit, you had to prove you could pay off the credit, and you had to do so in a relatively short period of time. Today you have to be in debt up to your eyeballs to get credit which probably means you won’t be paying off that credit any time in the near future. At one time credit was only granted if the reason for the credit was a sound one, starting a business that was actually needed or being able to buy seed to plant a crop for harvest the following fall. Today all you have to do is say I want, and you can get credit. That want may be a newer car, or a bigger boat, or a house that would quarter the entire 82nd Airborne, it doesn’t have to make sense. Keeping up with the Joneses has become more important then providing for your family.

Both sets of my Grandparents lived in modest homes. They were large enough to keep the rain off their heads. They didn’t need dens, recreation rooms, his and her sinks and tubs or even separate rooms for each child; they needed to provide a roof over their heads with enough left over to put food in their stomachs. Today we want to have a TV in every room, computers for each member of the family, cell phones for everyone old enough to walk and a new car for anyone legal to drive in the driveway. I’m guilty of at least some of this thinking also. With all of this we wonder why the United States in the financial situation it is in.

Today if a person does not earn enough to have what the next guy has we consider it to be a travesty, it used to mean we just didn’t have all the luxuries in life. In days gone by if you wanted something that was considered a luxury you would work a little extra and save until you could afford it. Today all you have to do is fill out a credit application or try and get a Government subsidy; is this really helping? Prior to the introduction of the Social Security Act in 1935 there was no permanent Government sponsored welfare program. Prior to 1935 welfare existed on a local level, usually at the county level. Local Governments ran poorhouses and orphanages. If it was determined that a person needed assistance other then that which they could obtain from family and friends they could be placed into a poorhouse. Children that had lost their parents or the parents were deemed unfit to care for them could be placed in orphanages. Neither of these places was considered to be nice places to go to, they weren’t meant to be. Benjamin Franklin was credited with the following quote “I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it”. That was the attitude of the early American poorhouses and orphanages, they did not want to make people comfortable in their poverty but they did provide a place they could be taken care of. Today whether you are willing to work for a living or not it is expected that you will have they same privileges and luxuries as the working class; there seems to be a gate to the upper class that will not be breached. People today just do not think about what they have to do to survive, somehow that is a bad thing, just to survive. What people think today is which credit card I can use to get that flat screen for the bedroom. We have turned around living within our means to mean “just surviving”.

There has been a popular bumper sticker since I was in my teens, “he who dies with the most toys wins”. Instead of being a comical bumper sticker it has become a whole generation’s mantra. What I haven’t figured out is whether that mantra was planted by the Government or the Government saw what the publics’ attitude was and saw an opportunity to push the progressive agenda. I personally believe it was the former. America has always had those that wanted a strong central Government with more control then what the Constitution allows. Prior to the 1900’s the Government went through ups and downs but the people still seemed to keep the Government reigned in enough to be manageable. It is believed that Grover Cleveland was one of the last true conservative Presidents to be in office before the progressive movement really took hold. Starting sometime around the Woodrow Wilson administration the progressive movement got a toehold. There were still a couple like William Harding and Calvin Coolidge that stalled the progressive move but it was not enough to stop it.

In 1909 President Theodore Roosevelt started that ball rolling with a White Conference on how best to deal with poor mothers and their children, the result of this conference was the beginning of the mothers’ pension programs. The first one started in Illinois in 1911; by 1933 all but 2 states had mothers’ pension programs. These programs were run by the States but they were the brainchild of the Federal Government. With the explosion of unemployed at the beginning of the Great Depression State programs and private charities were unable to keep up with the demand for help. In his State of the Union address before Congress in January of 1935 President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared "the time has come for action by the national government" to provide "security against the major hazards and vicissitudes [uncertainties] of life." By August of 1935 the Social Security Act was born.

There are different schools of thought as to whether the Government actually caused the Depression to be worse then it should have been or not. One thing that should be clear is that any program the Government put into place to ease the suffering during the Depression should have had a sunset; it should have gone away once the economy recovered to a point that the assistance was no longer required. But in the true fashion of the Progressive the Government used the Depression as the crisis necessary to advance the Progressive movement. With the birth of Social Security we can also mark the planting of the seeds for all other Government assistance programs and the death of fiscal responsibility in America.

At the beginning of this I asked what have we lost that they had? It is my personal belief that there is much that we have lost. We have lost our sense of fiscal responsibility and we have lost our individuality. George Carlin once did a piece in one of his shows about what is wrong with America. He sums it up with the fact that it’s not our politicians that are the problem, it’s us. The politicians are selected from us by us, they are representatives of the American people therefore we are the ones that have allowed our country to get to the state it is in now and we are the only ones that have any hope of turning it around. If we expect our politicians to showed fiscal responsibility then we need to show it ourselves. We need to restore the definition of making ends meet to what it used to be. We need to learn to live within our means. There is nothing wrong with having luxuries, as long as you can truly afford them. We need to learn to do without at times and learn how to do for ourselves more.

Steve Avery